With ‘Spooky Season’ at an end, the biggest consumer season (and maybe actual spookiest) time of the year is officially upon us. Less than one month after Halloween ends, Black Friday arrives (November 25, 2022 and November 24, 2023). Then, as quickly as the shelves are restocked, it’s the full-blown holiday shopping season.
Whether celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa, wanting an excuse to give gifts to loved ones, or taking advantage of great holiday deals, people love to partake in the holiday shopping extravaganza. On Black Friday alone, 66.5 million Americans spent $8.9 billion in 2021. For the entire November/December shopping season, U.S. consumers spent a record-breaking $886.7 billion in 2021— up 14.7% from the year before.
Most businesses want in on this annual frenzy. That said, convincing excited shoppers to choose your brand over the competition isn’t easy. Price slashing and “two-for-one” deals are wonderful. But is that enough to drive shoppers away from your local competitor with equally rock-bottom prices? If not, how can you how can your business listings stand apart?
Get Higher Online Visibility & Rankings for the Holidays
Physical location and local visibility are critical year-round, but especially during the holidays. Aside from the headline-grabbing exceptions, most Black Friday shoppers see the day as a fun, close-to-home, post-Thanksgiving excursion. As soon as Turkey Day is over, things usually get more hectic! From holiday parties to cross-country travels, there’s rarely a minute to waste. To snag those last-minute gifts in time, consumers want to grab something close to wherever they’re heading next.
When looking for that “perfect-holiday-gift-near-me,” busy shoppers usually pick up their mobile devices or log on to their computers to search Google and Google Maps for the closest location. Whichever location listings land at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) has a high likelihood of being their shopping choice.
How do you land atop Google SERPs to attract these shoppers? Start by ensuring your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business, or GMB) is fully optimized, accurate, and updated for excellent online visibility and local SEO. This also includes ensuring that every location’s business hours are correctly listed online for Black Friday and the holidays.
Here’s what you need to know:
Claim and Verify Your Online GBP Listings
First things first. If you have yet to claim and verify your Google Business Profile (GBP) listings, start now! These steps are critical to complete before creating fully optimized online listings. Additionally, claimed businesses get seven times more clicks than unclaimed online listings and are 70% more likely to draw consumers to their location!
While Google makes the process relatively, it can take some time. With the holiday season just around the corner, there’s no time to waste. Click here for Google’s guides to claiming or adding your online listings and verifying your online listings.
Complete Your Entire Google Business Profile
Once your locations are claimed and verified, ask yourself — Are all of my brand’s GBP listings fully updated and accurate?
If the answer is no, this is where you want to continue your holiday online optimization process. You must complete your listings based on Google’s current GBP standards for the highest rankings and best online visibility. Every listing now need to include:
- Phone Number
Expect your Google rankings to take a severe hit without each element completed and accurate. Additionally, people like to know what to expect before going to a store. They get that with full, descriptive business information on your listings.
Use Your Google Posts Feature
Google Posts are fantastic — and often underutilized — GBP features. Especially during the competitive holiday season, Google Posts offer an easy and eye-catching way to stand out while keeping consumers informed and engaged. A few popular ways to use Google Posts include promoting:
- New Seasonal Specials
- Black Friday Sales and Promotions
- Exciting Holiday Events
- Loyalty Programs and Offerings
- Photos from Past Holiday Events
- Alternative Hours for the Holiday Season
Any past, present, or future announcement that drives consumers to your locations is perfect for Google Posts. Think of Google Posts as digital flyers on your online bulletin board.
Change Days and Hours on GBP for the Holidays and Black Friday
It’s frustrating to show up to a store thinking it’s open only to find the lights off and doors locked. Don’t let anyone drive away angry. With GBP, informing customers about your current hours is simple. As of October 2022 (yes, they just released an update), here’s how it works:
Update Open and Closed Dates for Holidays and Black Friday
- Log into your Google Business Profile account.
- Select the location you want to update.
- Google will take you to the live listings.
- Next, click Edit Profile on the left-hand side.
- Open the Hours tab and locate Business Hours.
- Select Holiday Hours and choose a date.
- Review and Confirm the date.
- For custom dates, choose the Add a Date option.
- To set the entire day as closed, check the closed box.
- When done with adjustments, click Save.
Update Operating Hours on GBP for the Holidays and Black Friday
- Sign in to your company’s Google Business Profile account.
- Select the location you’d like to manage.
- Google will take you to the live listing.
- Select the Edit Profile section on the left side.
- Select the Hours tab.
- Select Confirm Hours by the day you’d like to update. Or, click Add New Date to choose a new or different date.
- Adjust the temporary opening and closing times for that day.
- Move the circle to Closed if the location will be closed all day.
- If you’re open 24 hours, select Opens At and 24 Hours from the dropdown menu.
- If closing hours are past midnight, ensure that you’ve set them correctly. Be careful not to choose the incorrect date accidentally.
- After you’ve finished adjusting your hours, click Save.
- Special hours will automatically appear on your Google listings for the selected days.
- You’re all set! Now focus on creating a fantastic customer experience for your excited shoppers.
Here are a few extra GBP tips for the holidays — if your operating times and dates don’t change, confirming your holiday operating hours in GBP is still critical! This gives shoppers the added assurance that your team didn’t forget to update your online listings. Rather than risk making a trip for nothing, they can confidently head to your locations.
Also, the Holiday Hour features are designed for short-term changes. If a business location(s) will be closed for more than seven consecutive days, set your profile for that location as Temporarily Closed.
Updating your online Google listings for the holidays looks easy enough, right? If you only have a few locations, perhaps. But for brands with dozens, 100s, or even 1,000s of places — not so much. While Google does have a bulk update option for holiday hours, the process requires a spreadsheet and isn’t fast or particularly user-friendly. Learn more about how that works here.
Medium and enterprise organizations typically rely on an all-in-one listing management platform for multi-location brands to take care of the entire process for you. It’s simply the most trusted and effortless way to ensure that every listing is always accurate and up-to-date.
Chatmeter is the multi-location growth expert that enables brand success through listings management, local and enterprise-wide intelligence and CX reputation solutions. See benefits across every touchpoint of your customer’s omnichannel experience — from Google Business Profile optimization and feedback management to sentiment analysis and local-level intelligence.
Get a jumpstart in time for the holidays and the start of 2023. Set up a demo with one of our experts today!